Büron school now with modern IT solution
Curriculum 21 already stipulates IT lessons at primary school level. A good reason for the Büron school IT management to examine its IT concept and strive for novations.
Future requirements for the infrastructure of the Büron schools
Like many other schools, Büron also had traditional static IT – that is, older, stationary PCs and traditional domain and file servers. These common IT environments are slow and cumbersome, and can only be supported with external help.
Changed working conditions for teachers and administration, as well as the requirements stipulated in curriculum 21 define clear framework conditions for school infrastructures.
- Mobile devices with keyboard (tablets and/or notebooks)
- Local independence through comprehensive WIFI coverage
- Device compatibility with existing teaching software
- Differentiation between teacher and student devices (different device configuration)
In addition, the IT managers at the Büron schools wanted:
- Independence from the canton in IT issues
- Local data storage (minimal repositories, no data in the cloud)
- Data access from home and on the road
- Dedicated point of contact for all ICT issues
The challenge: Turning old into new
A tight cost budget had to be met while meeting the new requirements. The following points required particular attention:
- Provision of comprehensive, scalable WIFI, distributed across several buildings
- Central administration of the WIFI infrastructure
- Separation between student, teacher and guest networks
- Replacement and extension of the existing network infrastructure (switches and firewall)
- Provision of a web content filter for students
- Provision of a web security solution as protection against malware from the internet
- Remote access to local data for teachers, school maintenance staff and authorities
- Simplified data structure while complying with security criteria
- Central rights administration for data and WIFI access School management should handle administration
- New backup concept for greater data security
- Manipulation-proof student devices
The new IT environment of the Büron school: This is what it looks like
A suitable concept was developed together with the headmaster Beat Stirnimann. The aim is to equip the centre with a simple and flexible IT solution.
The school management decided to use HP Windows laptops, a simple file server (NAS systems) and high-performance comprehensive WIFI by Cisco Meraki. The teaching and school maintenance staff, as well as members of the local council are provided with VPN access which facilitate secure access to school data from home or on the road.
The network infrastructure was completely renewed and simultaneously divided into three different segments. This measure ensures strict separation between teacher, student and guest networks and prevents – or at least limits – all data traffic between the individual segments. Thanks to the cloud-based web security solution (Cisco Umbrella), the school has access to a continuously updated and freely configurable URL filter and malware protection.
The students are provided with state-of-the-art laptops in their lessons which they can use for exercises, homework and similar activities. The setup was selected such that the mobile devices are automatically reset after use. Time-consuming IT support is prevented thanks to the standardised basic configuration of each device. If a problem arises, a device can be re-configured within less than half an hour via a master image.
Thanks to the simplified backup concept, the school management can access several versions of the data and provide this to the teachers and students if necessary.
Apart from the comprehensive WIFI coverage and modern devices for teachers and students, the school management wanted to be able to administer the new environment itself. The school management would handle recurrent administrative tasks, such as the creation of new users or data structures. This makes the Büron school IT independent which means it is no longer bound by the canton’s agenda.
The new, modern solution was planned and realised in the summer holidays. This meant that lessons were not affected or interrupted. The implementation was planned such that the requirements were met on-budget. The new infrastructure is easier and the school management can handle it itself. It supports the requirements of curriculum 21, is based on standardised teacher and student devices and offers a greater level of security. Last, but not least, the measures taken reduced maintenance costs for the IT infrastructure.